Ars Technica goes behind the scenes with Facebook developers

I found this extended look by Ars author Ryan Paul a bit overly friendly toward the internet powerhouse. It’s nevertheless pretty essential reading for any web developer. A few key trends of the piece are worth remembering; successful developers iterate often and test religiously. One other point I rarely see emphasized, but apparently critical at Facebook:

Instead of offices, Facebook developers work mostly in open spaces laid out like bullpens. Workstations are lined up along shared tables, with no barriers between individual workers. Each building has meeting rooms where employees can have discussions without disturbing other workers.

That last sentence is key. I’ve personally found development breakthroughs often come from healthy verbal debate in front of a white board, but doing so in the middle of an open plan can (understandably) disturb colleagues. Private spaces are critical.